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Collegiate racing

Old 09-26-18, 07:39 PM
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Collegiate racing

Hi, Iím currently a senior in high school and plan on racing at the collegiate level next year in college. How do these races differ from the current cat 3/4 races I do now? Is there normally some sort of tryouts? Are the races faster and harder?
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Old 09-26-18, 09:15 PM
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I raced for 4 years in college and got my start through collegiate. It's going depend on what conference you're in (I raced in the NWCCC) and the schools you race against. I had teammates that raced ECCC and other more competitive conferences that would tell stories about racing against schools like Marian and that didn't match with my experience.

Number one point is that the community at collegiate racing is awesome. You race against and with the same people ~8 weeks in a row so you really get to know them and become good friends. My best friends I made in college were the guys I traveled to all the races with, shared uncomfortable sleeping arrangements in random people's houses and put off homework with to the point of staying up way past a reasonable hour once I got back. The only regret I have about collegiate racing was not doing more my first two years in school.

Regarding competition, if you end up racing A's, it's going to be like 1/2/3 race. There are the guys who are fit and know what they're doing and the guys who are still learning. Big skill divide because of the way the categories are combined. Nationals (2017) is still the hardest race I've ever done and I got dropped and rode most of it alone. Still was completely destroyed afterwards. Conference races usually have small fields. In the NWCCC we raced about 10-15 in the A's. It makes racing hard when you're in that small of a pack, and as I mentioned above about knowing people, the racing becomes almost negative when everyone knows everyone's strengths.

Unless you're going to a varsity school, there won't be tryout, it will more than likely just be you joining a club. Show up at a booth, get your name on the email list and go ride. Or get in touch beforehand with officers / other A riders and start networking before all that stuff.

Collegiate cycling has been the highlight of my cycling "career" and I'm more than willing to answer any questions you may have. If you don't want it to be public shoot me a pm and I can answer it there. I would also highly recommend shooting the school you think you will be attending a message on their socials and asking questions to them. They'll know better than anyone else. Maybe even get out for a ride with them on one of their club run if you're local.
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Old 09-27-18, 06:35 AM
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Even at the varsity programs, it's generally pretty open to anyone who wants to participate. That said, some programs have more money for travel than others, so you may end up paying for hotels and gas on your own.

Where will you be going?
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Old 09-27-18, 07:19 PM
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I'd suggest trying as many things as you can (mtn biking, too). Get to nationals if you can.

Try to network as much as possible.

The races are a lot easier than category races. I raced as a 1, and the As was way easier than a 1/2 race, unless Brent Bookwalter showed up. But then he'd just win, so the rest of the race would be okay. But if you're a 3 already, do the As. And if you're a competent 4, maybe do the As a well. Ride with the best guys as much as possible.
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Old 09-27-18, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Even at the varsity programs, it's generally pretty open to anyone who wants to participate. That said, some programs have more money for travel than others, so you may end up paying for hotels and gas on your own.

Where will you be going?
trying to get into ucf but I donít believe itís varsity, and do you get to choose your collegiate category @rubiksoval ?
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Old 09-28-18, 05:09 AM
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I thought we had a 4 that raced as an A, but maybe he upgraded to a 3 by then. It was like 13 years ago, so I'm probably wrong. Maybe you have to be a 3 to race As.
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Old 09-28-18, 08:10 AM
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A is P 1 2 3
B is 3 4
C is 4 5
D and E are 5

Or at least they were in 2017.
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Old 09-28-18, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by PepeM View Post
A is P 1 2 3
B is 3 4
C is 4 5
D and E are 5

Or at least they were in 2017.
would they let me race in the E? 🤔
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Old 09-28-18, 08:46 AM
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If you are a Cat 5, sure. They don't always have D and E though. I think most events I went to only had A, B, and C.
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Old 09-28-18, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
I'd suggest trying as many things as you can (mtn biking, too). Get to nationals if you can.

Try to network as much as possible.

The races are a lot easier than category races. I raced as a 1, and the As was way easier than a 1/2 race, unless Brent Bookwalter showed up. But then he'd just win, so the rest of the race would be okay. But if you're a 3 already, do the As. And if you're a competent 4, maybe do the As a well. Ride with the best guys as much as possible.
+1 to both of these
Originally Posted by Ttoc6 View Post
I raced for 4 years in college and got my start through collegiate. It's going depend on what conference you're in (I raced in the NWCCC) and the schools you race against. I had teammates that raced ECCC and other more competitive conferences that would tell stories about racing against schools like Marian and that didn't match with my experience.

Number one point is that the community at collegiate racing is awesome. You race against and with the same people ~8 weeks in a row so you really get to know them and become good friends. My best friends I made in college were the guys I traveled to all the races with, shared uncomfortable sleeping arrangements in random people's houses and put off homework with to the point of staying up way past a reasonable hour once I got back. The only regret I have about collegiate racing was not doing more my first two years in school.

Regarding competition, if you end up racing A's, it's going to be like 1/2/3 race. There are the guys who are fit and know what they're doing and the guys who are still learning. Big skill divide because of the way the categories are combined. Nationals (2017) is still the hardest race I've ever done and I got dropped and rode most of it alone. Still was completely destroyed afterwards. Conference races usually have small fields. In the NWCCC we raced about 10-15 in the A's. It makes racing hard when you're in that small of a pack, and as I mentioned above about knowing people, the racing becomes almost negative when everyone knows everyone's strengths.

Unless you're going to a varsity school, there won't be tryout, it will more than likely just be you joining a club. Show up at a booth, get your name on the email list and go ride. Or get in touch beforehand with officers / other A riders and start networking before all that stuff.

Collegiate cycling has been the highlight of my cycling "career" and I'm more than willing to answer any questions you may have. If you don't want it to be public shoot me a pm and I can answer it there. I would also highly recommend shooting the school you think you will be attending a message on their socials and asking questions to them. They'll know better than anyone else. Maybe even get out for a ride with them on one of their club run if you're local.
good points.

I did collegiates as a grad student, and the extra bit of disposable income helped with gear acquisition. I was in the ECCC, did 2010-2013, going from a decent D rider to a decent B rider; i then came back as an A rider in 2016, mostly as a packfill, though I was so close in getting on the podium in one race. Overall, those five seasons were hands-down the best cycling experience I've ever had, and I'd be more than happy to volunteer and pay it forward with my time. The best part about it is that anyone and everyone could join and race, and there's a real sense of camaraderie. Your teammates may be racing against pros/former pros or are themselves pros/former pros, yet they are down to earth enough to help the intro riders.

One caveat i'd give to undergrads, though, is that you shouldn't let cycling deprive you from other activities. It can be a major time-suck, and your time could be better spent doing other things.
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Old 09-28-18, 05:37 PM
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Oh I wasted a lot of time just junk riding and not training. Striking the balance was an important life skill I learned in college, but grades probably did suffer as a result.

Man do I miss collegiate cycling. One of my teammates from back then came through Ogden yesterday and we went and rode. It's awesome to just have those kinds of friends that you share a very common interest with. Hearing his stories about track racing and the little bit of collegiate he got to do last year made ALMOST want to go back to grad school .
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Old 10-01-18, 06:32 PM
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Another former collegiate rider here. Just want to drop in and echo all of the sentiments above. Collegiate racing is totally awesome, do it as much as your time and budget permits! When I went to school the Cal. State U. public system had big funding for for Club Sports, of which USAC intercollegiate cycling was one. They paid for van rental, hotel, gas and race entry!!!!
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Old 10-02-18, 01:28 AM
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yea, we had to pay dues that basically covered the entire season. went to nationals last year basically for free.. great experience, except I got my ass handed to me.

wish i could say i'm going back this year for some redemption, but i'm likely graduating with a master's.
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Old 10-10-18, 12:29 PM
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A lot of good answers above.

Collegiate racing is an awesome experience. I participated in grad school after being a collegiate runner during my undergrad years. Club sports give you most of the same positive aspects of NCAA sports, but without a lot of the pressure and expectations. Also, where else do cat 3s get to race against pros?
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